Monday, March 3, 2014

12 Ways of Improving the Razzies

Over time the Golden Raspberry Awards, or Razzies have gotten a bit stale, which is a shame because I honestly feel that if televised in the right way, the Razzies could make for a fun night's entertainment.

Here are twelve ways of improving the Razzies without breaking the budget of them. In terms of adding awards categories from the Academy Awards I'm taking it on a case by case basis. The general public probably doesn't care about fashion or set design but they do grumble about some of the other categories after a movie.

  1. Upload the entire ceremony to YouTube. Once that would have be cost prohibitive but nowadays a standard camera can shoot perfectly decent video. This could entice a network to air the awards.
  2. Stop nominating/awarding Razzies for men in drag in the Actress categories. That joke wasn't tht funny the first time around and the gag has been beaten to death. Besides, do you want women to feel safe from doing a bad performance because they know a man will take the award instead?
  3. Be more deadpan, less wacky in Razzies videos. Act completely seriousness while discussing the amount of skill and talent needed to win a Razzie.
  4. New Category: Worst Performance in an Otherwise Good Movie. Unearth the hidden gems of bad performances
  5. New Category: Most Overrated Movie. Limit the choices to movies not nominated in other categories and which level out at 60% or greater in Rotten Tomatoes' Tomato-meter. Puncture the pretentions of some of the loftier movies
  6. New Oscars-Inspired Category: Worst Special Effects. Sometimes movies with bad special effects are more entertaining than good ones.
  7. New Oscars-Inspired Category: Worst Song: Salute those songs in movies that are so obnoxious they can't get dislodged afterwards
  8. New Oscars-Inspired Category: Worst Documentary: Salute documentaries are too heavy handed or too boring or both
  9. Once per ceremony when no one shows up to accept an award, pause for a few moments and then play the kind of music that gets played when Oscar acceptance speech goes on too long.
  10. Break for mock commercials
  11. Do an In-Memoriam for performers who are still alive but whose acting careers have supposedly died
  12. Do the opposite of the Oscars and announce a much longer running time than the Awards actually need at the start and then at the end announce that remainder of the time will be filled by a previous Razzie winning movie.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What was Comics' First Intercompany Crossover?

In the 1970s DC and Marvel published Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man. While it wasn't the first time that Marvel and DC had had their names on the same comic - the honour goes to a Wizard of Oz adaptation, it was the first time that the modern era Big Two had their heroes meet. However, it wasn't the first intercompany crossover. In fact what I believe to be the first intercompany crossover, while frequently discussed in comic book histories for other reasons is rarely described as an intercompany crossover.

Note: I did use Wikipedia to flesh out a few details but had already made my conclusions prior to starting on this article.

To realize what was the first intercompany crossover, you have to look back to the earliest days of the American Comic as we know it. In the earliest days of the tabloid comics, the stories were all reprints. But it didn't take long before Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson created National Allied Publications to produce new material. New Fun Comics (later More Fun Comics) became the first ongoing series to be devoted to new material (after first testing the waters with the one-shot New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1). It was followed soon after by New Comics (later New Adventure Comics, later Adventure Comics). In order to publish a third title, Nicholson, now in debt to accountant Harry Donenfeld, actually created a second comic company, Detective Comics, Inc. with Jack S. Liebowitz as his partner. This company, in 1936 published Detective Comics, then Action Comics in 1938. Action Comics #1, which had the debut of Superman is generally credited with the creation of the comic book superhero, though an argument could be made for Dr. Occult in New Fun Comics #6. National Allied Publications and Detective Comics inc. later merged as National Comics.

Prior to this merger, however, another company with close ties to National was formed. In 1938 Max Gaines (later founder of EC Comics and father to William Gaines, who co-created Mad) created All-American Publications, which Donenfeld also provided funding to with the condition that Liebowitz be taken on as his partner. Unlike Detective, All-American had a different physical location. There were close ties to the companies (both had DC on their cover at one point) but despite their close relationship were separate companies (in fact there was a point where things cooled between the two enough that All-American had its own separate logo on the covers). All-American's best known titles were probably All-American Comics (which had the debuts of Green Lantern and the Atom) and Flash Comics (which in its first issue debuted The Flash and Hawkman).

Both National and All-American continued to create new heroes. All-American published All-Star Comics #1 in 1940. All-Star Comics #1 had all-new strips of superheroes from both National and All-American, though like most comics from that era, characters from the different strips never interacted.  That all changed with #3. In #3 characters from different strips (a somewhat different line-up from #1) were depicted as socializing together as the Justice Society of America. The original roster of the Justice Society included National characters Hour-Man, Spectre, Sandman, and Doctor Fate; and All-American characters Flash, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Atom. In this story they never actually teamed up, just talked about their exploits. However, in #4 the team learned about a crisis and each character worked on a different part of the case before teaming up in the final chapter.

All-American was absorbed by National in 1944 and soon became National Periodical Publications, a name which was used until 1977 when it become DC Comics. However, at the time that All-Star Comics #3-4 came out, National and All-American were separate companies. So All-Star Comics #3, aside from being the first superhero team comic, was also the first intercompany crossover in terms of superheroes hanging out together, with #4 being the first time characters from two different comic book companies actually worked on the same case together.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Making Sense of the Super Friends DVD Releases

The good news for fans of the Super Friends series is that they are now all out on DVD. However, wading through the various Super Friends can be a bit of a chore as not all the DVD release names make a lot of sense, and the show in its original airing kept changing its name. That being the case I'm listing the DVD sets in two orders: alphabetically and in proper viewing order to help you with this mess.

In all versions the core DC Comics characters are Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom, and Rima the Jungle Girl sometimes appeared, particular in the Challenge season. Firestorm becamse a regular with the second last season and Cyborg with the last. Most seasons were had multiple short stories per episodes. However, the first season was full length and the Legion of Doom part of the Challenge of the Super Friends season was half the episode.

ALPHABETICAL
 
All-New Super Friends Hour Volume One: This is the first half of the second season, which aired in 1977 (four years after the first season) which was also called All-New Super Friends Hour. In some ways Super Friends as most people know it began here, with the introduction of Jan, Zayna, Gleek, Apache Chief, Samurai, Black Vulcan. As the first season was also split in two, view this third.
 
All-New Super Friends Hour Volume Two: The second half of the above. View this fourth.

Challenge of the Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of the Doom: single disc release that was later replaced by the season set. Skip this one entirely in favour of the season set.

Challenge of the Super Friends: The First Season: The name notwithstanding, this was part of the third season overall, airing in 1978, the only season to use this name. This was actually half of the hour long Challenge of the Super Friends show, the portion of the show dealing with the heroes' fights with the Legion of Doom. No Jayna, Zan, or Wonder Twins. View this fifth.

Challenge of the Super Friends: United They Stand: Another single disc release that was later replaced by the season set. Skip this one entirely in favour of the season set.


Super Friends! Season One Volume One: The first half of the original 1973 series, with hour long (minus commercials) adventures. This was the only season to have Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog as regular characters. View this first.

Super Friends! Season One Volume  Two: The second half of the above. View this second.

Super Friends! The Complete Season Five: A Dangerous Fate: This was the fifth season, with episodes airing in 1980 under the title Super Friends. As some earlier seasons are split in half, view this eighth

Super Friends! The Complete Season Six: Legacy of Super Powers: This was the sixth season, with episodes airing in 1981 under the title Super Friends. This was the first season to feature El Dorado as a recurring character. As some earlier seasons are split in half, view this ninth.

Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show: This is the eighth season, which was also called Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, the name reflecting an attempt to tie the show into a toy line. Firestorm became a regular character with this season. This season aired in 1984. View this eleventh.

Super Friends: The Lost Episodes: This is considered the seventh season, intended for 1983 but airing later, some as part of the Superman/Batman Adventures in 1995. The series title in considered to be Super Friends. View this tenth.

Super Friends Volume Two: This collects the half of each episode of the hour long third season from 1979 (Challenge of the Super Friends) that features Jan, Zayna, and Gleek instead of the Legion of Doom. View this sixth.

Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians: This is the ninth and final season, which was also called Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, the name reflecting a further attempt to tie the show into a toy line. Cyborg became a regular character with this season. Despite the absence of the word "Friends" in the shows title, this is otherwise obviously a season of the Super Friends This season aired in 1985. View this twelfth.

World's Greatest Super Friends! The Complete Season Four: And Justice For All. This set collects the fourth season of Super Friends (World's Greatest Super Friends) from 1979. View this seventh.

VIEWING ORDER
  1. Super Friends! Season One Volume One
  2. Super Friends! Season One Volume Two
  3. All-New Super Friends Hour Volume One
  4. All-New Super Friends Hour Volume Two
  5. Challenge of the Super Friends: The First Season
  6. Super Friends Volume Two
  7. World's Greatest Super Friends! The Complete Season Four: And Justice For All
  8. Super Friends! The Complete Season Five: A Dangerous Fate
  9. Super Friends! The Complete Season Six: A Legacy of Super Powers
  10. Super Friends: The Lost Episodes
  11. Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show
  12. Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians

Friday, February 14, 2014

Movie Review: Isolated



I recently attended a screening of the documentary Isolated. Isolated is about surfers who visit West Papua in search of the perfect wave only to learn about the abuses of the West Papua people by the Indonesian government.

There is no question that the filmmakers’ experience in West Papua changed them in ways they could not have expected, and that the film is well intentioned. And indeed the movie does overall get stronger as it continues. But there are some serious problems with the beginning that it never quite recovers from.

Stylistically the movie borrows a fair bit from reality television, showing people engaged in some activity intercut with talking heads discussing the situation, plus a frequent voiceover. There’s less of the activity intercut with talking heads near the end but it never entirely goes away. Unlike actually reality shows there are no “coming up” bits nor do I think anything was staged for dramatic effect. Even so there is enough of a reality television aspect to it that it feels like things are being dumbed down a bit.

The most notable example is the sole female surfer in the group. It is unfortunate that there are no other women in the surfing group because she comes across as the least intelligent of the group and more than once I nearly walked out when she did one of her talking heads bits. In the early part of the movie there is considerable gratuitous footage of her in a bikini doing stuff. Being a straight male this experience was not entirely unpleasant but more than once I found myself thinking that I’m supposed to be thinking of the plight of the West Papua people but am instead consuming a large dosage of eye candy.  It is telling that later in the movie, when things get a bit more serious she is largely absent despite the amount of screen time devoted to her in the first half (in fairness she does take an injury and this may have contributed to her reduced role as well).

Which brings me to another problem: too much time with the surfers, not enough time with the West Papuan people. I learned a lot more about each of the surfers than I did for any one of the natives. This is particularly a shame because some of the early footage is supposed to pay off later on and to a degree it does, but the effect is more muted than it should have because the earlier focus was more on the surfers than the villagers. The movie may have originally been intended to be your typical surf movie, but once the director, Justin Le Pera realized that the topic had changed, a lot of the surfing scenes, particularly ones without the natives should have been left on the cutting room floor or included as deleted scenes on the DVD/blu-ray. The apartheid movie Cry Freedom (which I liked a lot more) got criticism for focussing more on the white man than the black man. I think a similar criticism could be made for Isolated. In terms of shifting gears, I point to the documentary 9/11, which was supposed to be a documentary on a rookie fireman, but which was able to make the transition once the more interesting movie unexpectedly dropped in the filmmakers’ laps. I don’t think Le Para was entirely able to give up his original vision and the movie suffers as a result.

At around the one hour fifteen minute mark the movie does become a lot more interesting. I won’t spoil the specifics for people who are interested but suffice it to say the movie gets the “perfect wave” subplot out of the way and the participants are compelled to try to learn more. At that point the movie finally starts to fire on most cylinders and for most of the rest of the movie things are a lot more engaging. There are a few snags here and there but overall things are more concrete and the movie finally starts to paint a real picture of things. It’s just a shame it took seventy-five minutes to reach that point.

Le Para was present for a Q&A at the screening and someone asked about the process by which something was done to the villagers (I’m being vague for the benefit of people who may want to see this). Le Para explained he decided not to include that part in the movie and then described how that aspect was done, and wow, that really should have been in the movie. Had the movie focussed more on the villagers seen early on, downplayed the surfing bits (except where they relate to the villagers), shown that the villagers had been screwed over (this aspect was in fact done in the movvie), and then gone into detail on exactly how the villagers got screwed over, you would have had something really profound. Instead the movie is a tug-of-war between its surfing and political aspects which never quite gell together. I was more interested in the political aspects but I can also see a lot of other people being really engaged by the surfing aspects and wanting the political parts excised. Some movies can get away with shifting tones. From Dusk Till Dawn does this brilliantly. This felt more like two movies mashed together.

I think a lot of my problem with the movie is one of editing. In some ways this movie is more frustrating than a completely bad movie because I can see the stronger documentary underneath. Had there not been something I would not have been inspired to write this review. And again, if you make it to the one hour fifteen minute mark, things do pick up. But while I can forgive a slow start, the real meat should have been apparent even before the half hour mark. Therefore, while respecting its intentions and its efforts to raise awareness of West Papua issues, I cannot in good conscience recommend this movie. At the same time the situation in West Papua does deserve attention. Therefore my recommendation instead is to go to YouTube and delve into some of the West Papua related videos posted there.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Numbers of the Franchise Blockbuster Videos

With all the non-franchise Blockbuster Videos closed down is the US, that leaves 51 franchises left, which are listed here:
http://www.blockbuster.com/franchise.html

Here are how the states break down, from most to least (note: most states no longer have a Blockbuster Video):

1. Texas, 14 franchises (27.46%)
2. Alaska, 13 franchises (25.49%)

3. Oregon, 7 franchises (13.73%)
4. Indiana, 6 franchises (11.76%)
5. Kentucky, 3 franchises (5.88%)
6. South Dakota, 2 franchises (3.92%)
7. Florida, 1 franchise (1.96%)
7. Louisiana, 1 franchise (1.96%)
7. Minnesota, 1 franchise (1.96%)
7. Mississippi, 1 franchise (1.96%)
7. North Dakota, 1 franchise (1.96%)
7. Tennessee, 1 franchise (1.96%)

And the cities (cities with only one franchise not noted; please refer to the link above for those)

1. El Paso, TX, 7 franchises (13.73%)
2, Anchorage, AK, 4 franchises (7.84%)
3. Bend, OR, 3 franchises (5.88%)
4. Fairbanks, AK, 2 franchises (3.92%)
4. Somerset, KY, 2 franchises (3.92%)
4. Rapid City, SD, 2 franchises (3.92%)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pacific Northwest Trip June 2013 Day 7 Saturday June 22



This is the sixth of a series of posts dealing with my tenth and most recent trip to Seattle as adult. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports.  What few updates there are indicated by NOW in brackets.

Minor editing to fix typos/incorrect names.

One woman in my room nonchalantly changed out of her pants with the lights on last night. Probably good prep for what was to come this morning.

In the morning I walked to Pike Place Market and saw Rachel the giant piggy bank.  I also visited Target.  Heading towards the Bell Street Bridge I discovered, much to my shock, goals penned in below the freeway ramp at Elliott & Blanchard.  I walked along the Bell Street Bridge though the observation area ion the other side was locked due to a tour.  I returned to the hostel for breakfast.

I walked to Westlake Station and took the 72 bus (all busses this day Metro Transit) to the University of Washington, where I saw Drumheller Fountain. I walked to the nearby University Village, where I saw a couple of smaller fountains: Water Frolic (frogs & turtles), Water Break (turtles & birds), a couple of animal statues, and the Stonehenge Fountain.

I walked to the shopping area of the University District and visited Bulldog News, University Bookstore, Half Price Books (bought some DVDs; the dealer noticed that one was missing a disc before ringing it through so I passed on that one obviously), Cinema Books, Neptune Music (more DVDs), Scarecrow Video (got a bunch of DVDs on sale).  I skipped a few stores in the interest of time, taking the 44 bus to NW Market & 8th. I visited a branch there of Rain City Video. I'd passed it before a number of times but failed to notice it because it was attacked to a Shell station. I decided to move Ballard to tomorrow to take in more of the Fremont Fair in that district.

Aside from hundreds of market tents, saw the usual plant dinosaurs (more full green than usual), Fremont Rocket, Lenin (some of the crowd had put some political party slogans on it), Center of the Universe signpost, Jive Time Records, Ophelia Books (pet the cat), Fremont Troll, JP Patches & Gertrude: Late for the Interurban statue (the memorial stuff was now gone), Waiting for the Interurban statue.

I wandered to the start of the parade route. One bodypainted woman walked naked the other direction, probably one of the cyclists.  That's actually the highlight of the parade, albeit an unofficial part: it always starts with nude bikers.  Bikers included lots of people painted as superheroes, many painted as animals, some as death imagery.  About half and half in terms of gender,  and about half or more the women were full naked, not just topless.  One guy had a woman dressed as a tiger wheeled in a cage, no doubt an animal rights statement.

In terms of the non-biker parts of the parade, truth to tell, not much to say: I knew the festivities were continuing at Gas Works Park nearby in Wallingford, and those festivities interested me more than the parade, so I skipped the parade proper: you can see usual parade stuff a few times a year; I wanted to the stuff you don't get to see everyday. I can tell you there was an Uncle Sam in the parade though.

At the park it was pretty much anything goes in terms of dress; lots of photographers too. Some of the bikers used Lake Union there to wash off the paint. Technically you're not supposed to go in the other there but the police were hardly going to stop them today. There was a special beer section. Lots of live music playing at different locations and different times. Some danced to the music.

Hours later I decided to head back. The busses were running late due to the detours and traffic. Finally took the 32 to Dick's Drive-In near Seattle Center. I ordered fries, a Coke, and a shake. No burgers because they call come with mustard or diced pickles (mandatory).

I made it to the International Fountain just as it was shutting down for the day, but did manage a few spray shots at least.

Pacific Northwest Trip June 2013 Day 6 Friday June 21



This is the sixth of a series of posts dealing with my tenth and most recent trip to Seattle as adult, this time also covering Portland. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports.  What few updates there are indicated by NOW in brackets.

Minor editing to fix typos/incorrect names.

Forgot to mention: the day before my short sleeved pants split. Probably the elements plus wearing under jeans in rain were too much for them. Luckily on a whim I had packed a spare.

Also got a rash with my jeans sticking to it. Probably from that Boring walk. My shoes have fallen apart to the point that they'd be tossed if I wasn't for wanted to stick close to the Customs limit. Will probably have to withdrawl more money despite the financial penalty for doing so here: strip worn down on VISA, many kids running tills don't know how to punch in numbers, and they still don't use the chip reader for credit cards in the US.

[NOW: Luckily I managed to avoid having to withdraw anything.]

After checking out of the hostel in Portland, I ate breakfast at the nearby McDonald's and then wandered down to the downtown core.  En route I noticed that a fetish store was open at 6:30 am; probably 24 hours then; I passed west Portland's Everyday Music and Powell's.  Arriving downtown I took photos of a few statues again (the cloaked woman, the animals fountain), then did one last visit to Mill Ends Park and Salmon Street Springs.  I arrived at the bus stop 1 1/2 hours ahead of time, too tired to move any more with all the stuff.  One guy was also there then but hadn't bought his ticket.  Unfortunately there was one other person on standby and only one seat so he didn't make it on. Managed to snag the front seat myself.

A little less than three hours later we arrived at the International District/Chinatown Station entrance (Downtown Transit Tunnel) in Seattle.  I put money on my ORCA (transit) card and inside the tunnel took a 106 bus (Metro Transit) a few stops to Westlake Station. I had lunch at a nearby McDonald's before taking the 2 bus (Metro Transit) to City Hostel Seattle.

It was too early to check in but I paid and stored my stuff in storage. Heading out, I noted a few areas blocked off in part due to a rock festival tomorrow. Deciding to skip Issaquah this trip (its zoo has nothing on the Oregon Zoo despite a similar price), I took the 578 bus (Sound Transit) to Puyallup.  This is where I really started to notice the rash. I only saw a couple of the art pieces as most were temporarily gone for a huge outdoor market called Meeker Festival Days (Salutation, the nude woman statue in particular might make some parents upset).  In a way I'm relieved: listing all the art in photos can be very time consuming! I also visited Ace Pawn.

I took the 502 bus (Pierce Transit) to the Commons in Federal Way, deciding to skip Fantasium Comics this time. I cut through the Commons' parking lot and visited Al's Music Games Videos and Action City Comics. Walking to Federal Way Transit Center, I took the A Rapidride bus (Metro Transit) north. I had already decided to skip Angle Lake Park in SeaTac due to weather etc but it was closed anyway due to renovations.

At Tukwila International Blvd Station in Tukwila I took the 140 bus (Metro Transit) to Burien.  For years I kept missing Platinum Comics due to its late opening time and then last year because it was closed this year, so I was determined to make it just this once... and it was closed down.  I took another 140 the other way and got off at Westfield Southcenter in Tukwila. I visited f.y.e. and got some Latin DVDs. I crossed the street to Buybacks and then went to the nearby Half Price Books, getting a couple more DVDs.

After a short walk (passing through Tukwila Pond Park and looking at the pond itself), I took the 150 bus (Metro Transit) back to Westlake Station. I walked to the McDonald's across from Seattle Center, passing the giant red popsicle statue and the Chief Sealth statue en route.  I was too frazzled by credit card issues to notice if the McDonald's still had the sports balls in polls; I imagine that one still does.

[NOW: confirmed later in the trip.]

In Seattle Center I rested at the International Fountain, the half dome with the water jets shooting different directions. Still my favourite Seattle locations.  I walked over to Silver Platters... only to find they had moved to the SoDo district. I'll still get there at least once this trip, but now all the stores I liked to visit in the general vicinity of Seattle Center have closed/moved. :(

I returned to the fountain for a bit, then wandered to the hostel, checking out Rite Aid and a store near the hostel en route (got a drink). I then finished checking in.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Is an Email or Facebook Post Real, a Hoax, or Outdated?



I’ve noticed quite a number of e-mails and nowadays more often Facebook posts have a very strong whiff of male cattle fecal matter. Therefore for the sake of everyone’s sanity I’ve written out these tips that I hope will make the air just a little bit more hygienic. While I’m at it I’m also including tips on stuff that may not be BS per se but have become outdated. Note that having a few of the below doesn’t automatically make something inaccurate, but these should at least set off some alarm bells, Many of these overlap in some ways but have some nuance that I felt was worth pointing out separately.

1.      The information is badly sourced. Either there’s no source listed at all or if there is, there’s no link or other proof that it came from the source. You cannot even assume that a post that claims to have info that has been verified by Snopes really does have material that Snopes has verified.
2.      Unsourced percentages in particular deserve special mention. If you see a lot of percentages but no source, the percentages may have either been taken out of thin air or be misrepresented.
3.      The information is designed to evoke a strong emotional response. This isn’t always a bad thing but strong emotions can sometimes cloud judgement.  A well written piece will state the facts and let them trigger the emotions. A bogus piece will usually make the facts secondary to the emotion.
4.      The post asks you to share it. If something is factual, and something the public should know about, chances are, people will share the information without being asked. If the post has to ask you to share, there may be a reason you wouldn’t otherwise do so.
5.      The post tries to guilt trip you into sharing the post, trying to make you feel terrible if you don’t pass along the information. This is basically a combination of points 3 and 4; if the author is doing this, there is likely something they really don’t want you to figure out before spreading their information.
6.      The post feels like it has an axe to grind. If you get the sense that the author has a vendetta against a group, organization, or whatever, it’s possible that they are skewing or making up facts to target whoever they see as the enemy.
7.      The post is about a hot button topic. If it’s about a topic that a number of people are really POed about at the moment (e.g. immigration, religion, animal cruelty) it’s worth pay extra attention to the facts presented and trying to verify them.
8.      The math doesn’t feel like it would add up. Here’s where emotions are actually a good thing: if your gut tells you that the stats don’t feel right (e.g. a calendar pattern not recurring for over 100 years; more on this in a separate blog post), it may be worth doing the math and see what actually comes up.
9.      A unsourced comment is attributed to a well-spoken celebrity. Right or wrong, an opinion from Morgan Freeman will carry more weight than a stranger or even a friend or a friend. But did the celebrity really say it?
10.   A post is a funny incident. Lots of humour refers to real incidents, and of course a lot of posts are intended as gags from the start. But unfortunately a lot of strange but true stuff ultimately proves to be strange and untrue.
11.   The post comes with a photo. Photos appeal to emotions and therefore are sometimes doctored or taken out of context so that the reader gets so steamed up about the image that they fail to properly consider the evidence.
12.   The post has emotion laden font. Is the font bold, large sized, etc. in key emotional parts of the text, even beyond the title?
13.   The post is regarding non-local missing person/animal. Usually these start out accurate, but by the time they go beyond the area of disappearance, the person or animal has been found. These are generally not hoaxes (some are but not usually), just outdated information.
14.   A Facebook post indicates that you will gain something or not lose something if you click Share and/or post a statement on your wall. In some cases it involves an individual or group that simply doesn’t have access to your Facebook account. And if they do (e.g. Facebook themselves) it is unlikely they’re monitoring your page that closely. Statements on your wall cannot ward off legal matters (though obviously they can be used as evidence) and there are limited circumstances where you’re going to get free stuff from a stranger.

Again, not all of these in of themselves are proof a post is false. It just means it needs to be verified. There are a number of ways:
a.      Visit sites devoted to debunking urban legends. Snopes is the best known one but there are others. If using Snopes, I recommend having a pop-up blocker turned on.
b.      Do a keyword search in a search engine, the keywords being the gist of the post and the word “hoax”. This brings the confirmed hoaxes to the top of the results. Also, even if something turns out to be real, chances are the search engine will also find a few results that don’t use the hoax keyword.
c.      The above two are usually as far as I go, but you can also try the previous step but without the word “hoax” and see if any of the results are from actual newspapers/news shows.
d.      If the suspicious post claims a source, you can visit the source noted and see if the information is in fact on the source site.

So practice smart sharing everyone.  When in doubt don’t pass it along. After all, there are plenty of funny jokes, cute animal photos, and, yes, legitimate news out there to share without passing along misinformation.